How to Optimize Your Fundraising And Advocacy Campaigns in 8 Critical Steps

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We’re already one month into the new year and while it’s likely that most of your fundraising and advocacy campaign strategy is in place, it’s never too late to revisit and make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can to raise more money and win more campaigns this year. From granular tactics like email automations and SMS text programs to higher level strategies like education and data governance, we’ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite ways to optimize your campaigns.

All of these solutions were recommended by our accredited partners, a network of independent agencies with deep experience and training on Engaging Networks and experts within the nonprofit and charity industry as a whole. 

1. Marketing Automations

The Allegiance Group

Measuring the success of your automated welcome series

fundraising advocacy ocean conservancy

The most critical metric for measuring the success of your automated welcome series is if your supporters open these email messages. We look for a high open-rate  that sends a signal to email service providers (ESPs) that your email and your organization is credible (see the annual M+R Benchmark report to measure your email open rate). This can help improve email delivery rates and increase the size of your emailable file. And don’t forget about Apple’s email privacy protection update. Check out how Ocean Conservancy boosted email engagement using marketing automation.

Read the entire blog from The Allegiance Group here: 6 Email Automations That Drive Revenue

2. Educate Your Audience

Cornershop Creative

Nonprofit advocacy example: educating others

Every organization has a rich history. Maybe a community came together under a united campaign or your founder had a profound experience that opened their eyes and encouraged them to fight for a cause. Over time, more people joined that cause, did some really great stuff, and built the advocacy powerhouse you are today. How are you sharing this story?

Educating your supporters should be a top priority and there are many ways to accomplish this to get more people to stand behind your mission. One great example is Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). ARF does amazing work to help rescue animals that might otherwise be left on the streets or euthanized in shelters. There is only so much they can do as an organization, so they work hard to provide educational resources about animal care and pet ownership, including information about services they don’t even provide!

Read the entire Cornershop Creative blog for more advocacy examples: 6 Nonprofit Advocacy Example to Inspire your Organization

3. Check the status of your website data

RAD Campaign

Google’s new ranking algorithm

Just last June, Google rolled out a major update to their search ranking algorithm that may have impacted your website’s SEO and subsequent fundraising and advocacy milestones. The update introduced a new set of metrics called Page Experience Signals that factors how Google ranks websites.

You may already be well aware of this change, but if not – how can your nonprofit ensure that your website is still ranking well on Google after this new rollout? Review your website and current google analytics website data, and ask yourself:

  • How long does a visitor have to scroll on a page to find pertinent information?
  • How quickly does content (text, images, videos) take to load on any given page?
  • What is the user’s experience when interacting with buttons, links, form fields, and more across your website?

Depending on what you discover, you may need to make some changes to improve your score. Read the entire RAD Campaign blog for more information: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know About Google’s SEO Update

4. Data Governance Matters

Brightvine Solutions

Components of a strong data governance program

What is data governance and why do you need it? Only recently have nonprofit organizations started to recognize the value of data governance for things like analytics and data regulations (like GDPR). In most organizations, team members at various levels and in various roles are typically involved in the data governance process. Your data governance program should include members of your executive team, your data management professionals and IT staff, and any end users who are familiar with the functional/business uses of data within your organization. These team members work together to create the standards, policies, and processes for governing data. 

Read the entire blog from Brightvine Solutions here: Data Governance: What It Is and Why You Need It

5. Are you accessible for all audiences?

Firefly Partners

An inclusive approach to layout, design, and build

accessbility firefly

Inclusive Digital Marketing means that all the content generated across any and all of your digital channels should be fully accessible, welcoming to all, and creating an enjoyable experience for any user that interacts with it. 

So, with regards to your website, it should have thoughtful and intentional architecture. This list should include high contrast colors for those who are visually impaired and accessibility-minded back-end code so folks can easily navigate using a keyboard, screen readers, or other assistive technologies. And last but certainly not least, you should use inclusive and diverse imagery throughout your website.

For more ideas, read the full Firefly Partners blog: Accessibility: Creating an Inclusive Digital Approach

6. SMS Texting Changes

M+R

What’s happening and what to do about it

Algorithms, SEO, email and SMS are always changing. This past year, we saw major changes on every front. The rules cell phone carriers are enforcing — commonly referred to as “10 DLC” (short for “10-digit long codes” which are the phone numbers used to send texts)—have huge implications for the organizations we work with in the 2022 electoral cycle and beyond. Here’s what you need to know to keep your fundraising and advocacy campaigns on point:

  • Organizations must register their brand and 10-Digit Long Code (10 DLC) campaigns with The Campaign Registry
  • Organizations should focus on list hygiene
  • Carriers are using a ranking system to determine limits and priority for text messaging

Read the entire M+R blog here to learn how to prepare for these changes: Clearing the Air On Texting Changes

7. Turn your Donors into Superfans

K2D Strategies

Donor-advocates help you reach your fundraising and advocacy goals

Every donation is important, but those from donor-advocates are typically higher in value and consistency. Donor-advocates are the superfans of fundraising. By engaging in regular advocacy-driven fundraising you can leverage the support of these superfans to tap into the massive revenue potential that exists within your file. 

Retention rates are falling and new one-time donations are rising. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project reported earlier this year that despite a significant increase in giving, retention rates dropped by 4.1% in 2020. This is a red flag because retention is the measure that carries the day and is the best indicator of long-term file health. If you have a strong file, it’s undoubtedly full of individuals with more desire and dollars to give to your organization. A steady focus on stewardship and cultivation is the key to unlocking that door. 

Read the entire K2D Strategies blog to learn more about creating donor-advocates: Turning Donors into Superfans – 5 Ways to Improve Donor Loyalty and Retention

8. Create a Membership Program

The Engage Group

Membership programs can drive donations

Fundraising membership programs are exciting ways to engage both donors and prospect lists. The idea of membership – based upon inclusion and the perceived sense of a deeper level of support – intrigues supporters and makes them want to jump at the opportunity. And this is not only perceived value: the organization should be offering true benefits of membership. Organizations can provide compelling things that supporters genuinely want, at a reasonable cost that keeps acquisition metrics in check.

Memberships can drive growth, and can transform into a source of regular sustained revenue through annual campaigns and renewals. Take some time to think about how this could fit into your organization. It might fit surprisingly well. Check out how the Cornell Lab of Ornithology utilized a membership program to drive donations.

Read the full blog from The Engage Group here: 3 Ways to Build a Solid Membership Program


For more information on Engaging Networks Partners or becoming an accredited partner, contact Marcie Lenaghan, Director of Partnerships, at [email protected].

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